Dane Kouttron, Mad Genius and “The Flying Nimbus”


The Flying Nimbus

The Flying Nimbus

It’s easy to get a little jaded after seeing every manner of strange, electric powered wheeled device, likely or not, floated out as a Kickstarter campaign.  Every once in awhile, however, we bump into some project that is awesome just by virtue of the sheer joy of its creation – and its creator.  Such is the case with “The Flying Nimbus”.  There’s no Kickstarter campaign here, just a project page and a plea on Dane Kouttron’s Facebook page: “…build one build one buillllddd onnnnnneee.

Tested, and heel-approved

Tested, and heel-approved

To do just that, visit his page at TranisistorMan.com, and you get an amazingly detailed step-by-step how-to on putting together a “segboard” from what’s basically spare parts.  Admittedly, they are the spare parts you’d find at the MIT Electronics Research Society (MITERS), so they may not be quite the same spare parts you’re going to find in the back of your garage. For those unindoctrinated, MITERS is kind of an inner-sanctum (read: mad scientist lab, machine shop and explosion-proof testing ground) deep within the hallowed halls of the institution, where tampering with the Elemental Forces of the Universe is de rigueur practice. 

Kouttron describes the board as:

…a high-power, self-balancing, transportation contraption, intended to combine a pile of recycled components, a spiffy three-phase servo drive and a bundle of batteries into a balancing skateboard contraption for zooming around everything from paved roads to park trails.

His goals were to design a board that would “self-balance riders up to 80kg, not require significant training to use, have a dead man-switch and be visible at night”.  He’s running a 250W hub motor at 48V with a go-kart tire fitted, and a 14S4P A123 18650 battery array. 

Kouttron has brought his segboard to a few Maker events, including the MIT Maker Faire as a part of the EV show…  where it was put through exhaustive testing at the hands of anyone who’d jump on.  With whatever footwear they may happen to be wearing at the time.  See above.

“What does a recycled (heavily used) go kart tire, an action-packed three-phase servo drive and a gyro/accelerometer have in common? A balancing skateboard-contraption!

Here’s a video he put together to give an idea of how the board works:

The Flying Nimbus: Indoor/outdoor test footage from Dane Kouttron on Vimeo.

And another video posted by a friend:

2014-11-04 23.06.35.mp4 from Mars VonVector on Vimeo.

Category: General


6 responses to "Dane Kouttron, Mad Genius and “The Flying Nimbus”"
  1. kdawg says:

    Neat, but I’ll get excited when I can buy one of these.

    1. kdawg says:

      Oh, I guess someone did make one. (another kickstarter (no pun intended))


  2. Ken_3 says:

    I would be ashamed to put a wheel with that much run out on my build!

    1. Ted Dillard says:

      Care to share “your build” with us? 😉

      1. Ken_3 says:

        Still just thoughts. I don’t have the spare time right now. I’m still unpacking and working on rehabbing a house. But I do want to build an electric scooter to replace my Suzuki Burgman 650

  3. Anon says:

    The final production version will need to have the top of the exposed wheel, covered by a plastic shield. People are clumsy, and that looks like a great way to get hurt…